Roberto Di Matteo has admitted even he was shocked by Chelsea’s ruthless dismantling of QPR that catapulted them right back into the frame to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Five days after reaching next month’s final with a sensational comeback at Barcelona, the Blues produced the polar opposite of a European hangover to crush Rangers 6-1, their biggest ever win in the west London derby. It moved them to within a point of a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League ahead of a crunch clash with Newcastle.
Chelsea caretaker manager Di Matteo said: “After a Champions League game in midweek, it always proves difficult in the next game in the Premier League. I’m very pleased with the way we played and the result. I have to say that the team surprised me as well. I wasn’t expecting but I was hoping – they really put in a great performance.”
Nobody more so than man of the match Fernando Torres, who bagged the first hat-trick of his turbulent Chelsea career to give Di Matteo a real selection headache for the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Di Matteo said: “He was always working very hard for the team and putting assists in. We are a team and that’s what you support, and it doesn’t really matter who scores.
“I’m pleased for him that he’s scored the hat-trick. The confidence comes with the wins and, obviously for a striker, maybe a little bit with the goals as well.
“The whole team looks full of confidence.”
QPR’s defeat was Hughes’ heaviest as a manager and he accused this side of being “naive” after falling 4-0 behind inside 25 minutes.
“Given the week that Chelsea have had – the whole club’s on a high – we had to come and set our stall out and make sure that we were difficult to beat,” he said.
“What was it, 30, 40 seconds we’re behind in the game? At that point, the feeling is that it’s possibly going to be a difficult day. The fact that we kept going, we deserve a bit of credit. But, at times, we were a little bit naive. Possibly you have to take your medicine and understand that it’s not going to be your day.”